NSF's NOIRLab Call for Standard Proposals: Semester 2024A

This Call for Proposals 2024A (CfP24A) covers the observing time period from 1 February 2024 – 31 July 2024. 

Proposal Deadline: 02 October 2023 at 11:59 pm Mountain Standard Time (MST): note that this is a Monday evening in the US.

1. General Information on NSF's NOIRLab Observing Proposals 

Proposals for standard observing programs at all ground-based facilities coordinated by the NSF's NOIRLab, which include US time on the telescopes of Gemini, CTIO (including SOAR), and KPNO (WIYN), as well as community-access time with other observatories (which for 2024A include Magellan, CHARA, Keck, and MINERA-Australis), can be submitted twice per year.   For the 2024A semester, the deadline is:

Standard Programs: Deadline is 02 October 2023 at 11:59pm Mountain Standard Time (=Tucson time)  for the 1 February 2024 – 31 July 2024 observing period (2024A).

This Call is for Standard observing proposals.  More details about the process of submitting observing proposals to NOIRLab can be found at:


This Call for Proposals document is focused on updates and news specific to semester 2024A.

 - Dual Anonymous 2-stage Review

Semester 2024A continues the Dual Anonymous Review Process (DARP), which began last semester in 2022B, for all observing proposals submitted to NOIRLab (including proposals submitted for time on the Gemini telescopes).  This process requires that certain text sections of observing proposals must be anonymous, with these anonymous sections being:

  • Abstract
  • Science Justification
  • Experimental Design
  • Technical Design

In the second stage of the process, additional non-anonymized information relevant to the proposal will be revealed to the review panel in order to obtain a final ranking.

Compliance with this policy is mandatory.  Proposers, please take sufficient time to prepare your anonymous manuscript, especially if you are going to resubmit a proposal from a previous semester.

Detailed anonymization instructions for PIs can be found at  https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/proposals/anonymization-instructions.


A document of FAQ can also be found at https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/proposals/faq.pdf.

A short summary of points on anonymizing are listed below:

1. Do not claim ownership of past work, e.g., "my previously funded work..." or "Our prior analysis demonstrates that…”

2. Do not include the names of the personnel associated with the proposal or their organizational affiliations. This includes but is not limited to, page headers, footers, diagrams, figures, or watermarks. This does not include references to past work, which should be included whenever relevant (see below). 

3. Referencing is an essential part of demonstrating knowledge of the field and progress. When citing references within the proposal, use third person neutral wording.  Do not refer to previous observing campaigns or other observatories in an identifying fashion. 

4. If it is important to cite exclusive access datasets, non-public software, unpublished data, or findings that have been presented in public before but are not cite-able, proposers must use language such as "obtained in private communication" or "from private consultation" when referring to such potentially identifying work.

5. Do not include any acknowledgments, or the source of any grant funding.

You can view recordings  of webinars that discuss the anonymization policy linked  from the anonymization information page https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/proposals/anonymization-instructions .

- Updates: COVID and unavailable telescopes

COVID-19 may continue to affect operations at some observatories.  Different observatory sites may have different COVID-19 protocols, so proposers should remain aware of the situation. NOIRLab will notify the community of any significant updates.

For this call no time is available on either the 1m and 2m telescopes in the LCO global network.

For this call no time is available on either 0.9m and 1.5m SMARTS operated telescopes (section 3.11).

- Standard Proposals Requesting Long Term Status

NOIRLab will accept proposals for scientific programs that extend beyond a single semester. Long-term status may be granted to a proposal for which the principal science goal of the proposal cannot be achieved without the full allocation of time. An investigator who wishes to request long-term status should include a summary of the request (e.g., "six nights per semester for three semesters") in the appropriate section of the proposal form. Long-term status is limited to three semesters.

If long-term status is granted, a progress report must be submitted each subsequent semester to inform the TAC that appropriate progress is being made. Progress reports should briefly summarize the scientific justification, provide a detailed discussion of progress to date, restate the number of observing runs still needed to complete the project, and give details needed for scheduling the proposal in the next semester.

Although the granting of long-term status by the TAC does carry with it a commitment for observing time in future semesters, NOIRLab reserves the right to terminate long-term status on the advice of the TAC if insufficient information concerning the progress of the project has been supplied by the Principal Investigator or in the event of telescope closures.

- Survey Proposals

No call for survey proposals is issued for 2024A.

- Questions

Questions concerning NOIRLab proposals can be emailed  to: proposal-help@noirlab.edu or directly to:

  • Alfredo Zenteno, NSF's NOIRLab CSDC/TAC Program Head (alfredo.zenteno@noirlab.edu)
  • also, please cc - Verne V. Smith (verne.smith@noirlab.edu) and Mia Hartman (mia.hartman@noirlab.edu)

2. Instructions for Submitting Semester 2024A Proposals

The 2024A Call for Proposals covers proposals for observing programs at all ground-based facilities on which the NSF NOIRLab manages open-access observing time.  Information about the newly launched NOIRLab proposal process can be found at:

https://time-allocation.noirlab.edu/#/  -  (Contact proposal-help@noirlab.edu if you have trouble during login, signup or proposal submission. **note** Proposal copying from semesters prior to 2022A is currently unavailable)

Instructions for preparing and submitting an NSF NOIRLAB standard proposal can be found at:


An NSF NOIRLab proposal MUST be prepared and submitted via the web-based submission process, using the format as provided by a LaTeX or Word template. Please note that proposal copying from semesters prior to 2022A is currently unavailable, and manual transposition may be required.

Gemini Proposal Investigators who are applying for time on the Gemini telescopes must use Gemini Observatory's Phase I Tool (PIT) to prepare their observing proposals. The PIT is available from the Gemini Observatory at: 


Classical observers using US time  should be prepared to fund their own travel for their observing trips.  Contingent on the availability of funding, the NSF NOIRLab will support graduate students traveling for observations that are part of their PhD thesis work. To be eligible for NOIRLab funding for thesis observing, the thesis advisor must complete and submit the form found at:


3. News and Updates for Semester 2024A

The following updates to instrumentation and or observing time at all facilities available through the NSF NOIRLab are noted here to alert investigators preparing proposals.

During this semester we offer open access nights to Magellan (see 3.3),  Keck (see 3.4), and CHARA (see 3.6).  The NN-EXPLORE (NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research) program also continues on WIYN and MINERVA-Australis (see 3.6).  

3.1 DECam moving-object detection

NOIRLab routinely processes DECam data with the DECam Community Pipeline to generate science-ready images for PIs and archival researchers. As part of this processing, moving objects are flagged along with cosmic rays by comparing multiple exposures of the same pointing on the sky.

NOIRLab policy for reporting these moving-object detections to the Minor Planet Center is (a) to report detections of unknown near-Earth objects (NEOs) including potentially hazardous asteroids immediately, (b) to report other detections in non-proprietary data immediately, and (c) to report other detections in proprietary data after the expiration of the proprietary period.

For technical and scientific questions about this detection and reporting procedure, or to give permission to report non-NEO moving objects during the proprietary period, please contact frank.valdes@noirlab.edu. For questions about policy please contact adam.bolton@noirlab.edu dara.norman@noirlab.edu


3.2 Dual Anonymous Review Process (DARP) Continues in 2024A

As noted in Section 1 above, a Dual Anonymous Review Process (DARP) is now used for all observing proposals submitted to NOIRLab (including proposals submitted for time on the Gemini telescopes).  This process requires that the abstract, science justification, and experimental and technical design sections in all observing proposals must be anonymized.  In the second stage of the process, additional non-anonymized information relevant to the proposal will be revealed to the review panel in order to obtain a final ranking.

Detailed anonymization instructions for PIs can be found at  https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/proposals/anonymization-instructions , while a document of FAQ can also be found at


You can view recordings of webinars that discuss the anonymization policy linked from the anonymization information page https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/proposals/anonymization-instructions

3.3 Magellan Observing Time in 2024A

Through the NSF's Mid-Scale Innovations Program (MSIP), observing time for the NOIRLab community is available on the Magellan I and II telescopes (Baade and Clay, respectively) beginning in semester 2023A  and continuing through 2028A.  The time available for 2024A is 5 nights.

Starting this semester, MagAO-X will be offered.  Proposals are invited for shared-risk science verification observations, most likely in the March - April time frame, in collaboration with the MagAO-X team.  Contact the MagAO-X PI, Jared Males (jrmales@email.arizona.edu), before submitting a proposal to discuss proposals and for additional information about expected capabilities and performance. 

General information about the telescopes and instruments can be found at:     https://obs.carnegiescience.edu/astronomers

The telescope and instrument combinations available in this Call are:

Baade (Magellan I)

- IMACS: a versatile wide-field imager and multi-object spectrograph  

- FourStar: a wide-field near-infrared camera

- FIRE: a moderate resolution near-infrared echelette spectrograph

- MagE: a moderate resolution optical echelette spectrograph

Clay (Magellan II)

- MagAO-X: experimental coronagraphic extreme adaptive optics system

- MIKE: a high-throughput double echelle spectrograph

- LDSS: a high-efficiency, wide field multislit spectrograph

3.4 Keck I and Keck II Observing Time Continues in 2024A

Through the NSF's Mid-Scale Innovations Program (MSIP), NOIRLab observing time on Keck I and Keck II will be available through semester 2025A.   In 2024A, 2 nights on Keck I and 3 nights on Keck II are available.

Note that all proposers for Keck time must submit a Proposal Cover Sheet Form to Keck (Yes, this means you).

The cover sheet can be found at   https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/PILogin/login.php .

You must have a Keck Observer account to submit this form to Keck; if you do not have an Observer account, you can create one on the above link.  If you have forgotten your login name and password, help is available at the login page.  From your Keck homepage you can view your upcoming telescope runs, view your previous semesters' coversheets, create or modify coversheets for the upcoming semester, view and modify your contact information and profile.  Additional information on proposing for Keck time can be found at https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/observing/apply.html

Instrument availability, along with all relevant information, can be found at:


Special Notes and Consideration for 2024A:

 Keck I Telescope: There will be a 10 night shutdown occurring in the late October bright lunation in order to conduct repair work on the Keck I telescope pier.

 Keck I Time Requests: We anticipate quarter night requests for KPF observations throughout the semester and encourage all other Keck I PIs to consider proposing for 0.75 time allocations if this is feasible for their target visibility.

KPF: Keck Planet Finder will be unavailable for 3 weeks in February while the instrument undergoes a service mission. Documentation of KPF can be found at https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/realpublic/inst/kpf/

Keck I AO: Keck I AO (Osiris) may require periods of downtime in 24A to help facilitate KAPA work. Observing programs may be shifted into their acceptable observing periods to provide time for this work.

Keck II AO:  Keck II AO (Nirc2, Nirspao) will be unavailable for 3 weeks in late February – mid March. 

KCWI:  KCWI, with the red channel upgrade, KCRM, will be available throughout the semester, with shared-risk status in the months of August and September.  For more information on the red channel, please see https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/kcwi/configurations.html

DEIMOS: Please see https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/deimos/detector_issues.html for the latest DEIMOS detector performance status. 

KPIC: KPIC will be unavailable until April, and will only be available for shared-risk science in collaboration with and supported by the KPIC team.

ESI:  ESI will be scheduled in campaign mode to limit the number of reconfigs through the semester.

NIRSPEC/NIRSPAO:  Nirspec will be unavailable from February 1- March 9 for routine servicing to remove ice from the dewar window. Nirspec and Nirspao nights may be scheduled in campaign mode to limit the number of reconfigs into AO during the semester.

NIRC2: The vortex coronagraph in LGS mode is not available. Please, see the NIRC2 manual (https://www2.keck.hawaii.edu/inst/nirc2/ObserversManual.html#Section5.2.2) for information about vortex operations.

At-Home (pajama mode) Observing:  At-home observing will continue to be available to observers.  Please see https://keckobservatory.atlassian.net/wiki/spaces/MOSD/overview for information about remote observing, including at-home observing.

Twilight Cadence Observing: In 2024A, institutions will continue to be able to allocate one twilight observing program per telescope, for a total of up to two programs. On Keck I, OSIRIS-NGS (imager only) will be available, and on Keck II, NIRC2-NGS will be available. Please note that due to ongoing AO upgrades, there will be times in the semester when AO is unavailable for cadence observations (see above). Cadence program PIs are responsible for development of instrument scripts, providing documentation, and training of staff needed to make the cadence program a turnkey operation.

3.5 NN-EXPLORE Proposals Invited for the WIYN 3.5m and MINERVA-Australis in 2024A

NN-EXPLORE Proposals Invited for the WIYN 3.5m and MINERVA-Australis in 2024A

The NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research (NN-EXPLORE) program seeks to advance the understanding of exoplanets and exoplanetary systems in areas of mutual interest to NASA and NSF.  Every semester, this program makes approximately 40 nights of telescope time available on the WIYN telescope,  and 300 hours (equivalent to 30 nights) on the MINERVA-Australis observatory.

NN-EXPLORE solicits observing proposals targeted to general exoplanet-related research, with emphasis on supporting observations for NASA missions, including but not limited to Kepler, K2, TESS, HST, and JWST. The scope of the NN-EXPLORE Program includes observations to:

  • Confirm or validate exoplanet candidates
  • Characterize known exoplanets and exoplanetary systems
  • Characterize the (exozodiacal) dust environments of exoplanet-hosting or potentially-exoplanet-hosting stars
  • Explore the formation, evolution, and diversity of exoplanetary systems

Stellar observations to characterize stellar properties and search for background eclipsing binaries fall within the scope of the NN-EXPLORE Program, provided that the relevance of the proposed work to the exoplanet-research focus of the Program is clearly established. 

NN-EXPLORE proposals will be evaluated by a special Time Allocation Committee (TAC). The same TAC will evaluate WIYN and MINERVA-Australis proposals.

Unless specifically identified as long-term, programs are awarded time only for a single semester. For both long-term and single-semester programs, if a program is incomplete due to weather, instrument, observatory technical issues, or natural events (e.g., fire, flood, etc.) the observing time will not roll over to future semesters. Observers will need to re-apply to make up for lost time. 

Long-term programs

In addition to single semester proposals, NN-EXPLORE accepts proposals for large, long-term programs, defined as those that require between 2 and 4 semesters. A maximum of 8 nights per semester will be made available in total for all long-term programs. The intent is to select more than one long-term program, with selections based on science merit.

Long-term status may be requested when the science cannot be achieved within a single semester.  An investigator who wishes to request long-term status should include a summary of the request (e.g., "six nights per semester for three semesters" or "3 nights every other semester") in the appropriate section of the proposal form. Long-term proposals are limited to four semesters. To facilitate scheduling, proposers should consider requesting the lowest queue-priority levels necessary to achieve their science.  

If the time is granted, a progress report must be submitted each subsequent semester to inform the TAC that appropriate progress is being made. Progress reports should briefly summarize the scientific justification, provide a detailed discussion of progress to date, restate the number of observing runs still needed to complete the project, and give details needed for scheduling the proposal in the next semester. The reports should be sent before the proposal deadline to proposal-help@noirlab.edu.

Although the granting of long-term status by the TAC does carry with it a commitment for observing time in future semesters, NN-EXPLORE reserves the right to terminate long-term status on the advice of the TAC if insufficient information concerning the progress of the project has been supplied by the Principal Investigator or in the event of telescope closures.

Proposing for NN-EXPLORE Time

GO proposals should be submitted using the standard NOIRLab Observing Proposal Dashboard (https://time-allocation.noirlab.edu/#/proposal/create/) by selecting "NASA Exoplanet TAC" as the proposal type on the login page.  The deadline for NN-EXPLORE proposals is the same as the deadline for NOIRLab proposals.

WIYN Proposals

On behalf of the NASA-NSF partnership NN-EXPLORE, NOIRLab hereby requests observing proposals for the 2024A semester on the WIYN telescope. 

Limited funding support for WIYN observing, sufficient to cover travel, modest research expenses, and publications costs, will be provided by NASA to observers under the NN-EXPLORE Program. The amount of funding will be determined formulaically based on the number of awards and the available funding. Proposals must provide an explicit justification for the relevance of the proposed observations to the scientific goals of the Program. Proposals that fall outside the scope of the Program will not be eligible to receive Guest Observer funding.  Funding support is restricted to observers from US institutions.

For the 2024A semester, the complete NOIRLab share of WIYN will be available for the NN-EXPLORE program, depending on the time requested and the quality of proposals.   NN-EXPLORE proposals will be reviewed and selected by a special panel of the NOIRLab TAC. While proposals for non-exoplanet research will be accepted in 2024A for WIYN, these will be eligible for scheduling only if there is time available after the approved exoplanet proposals are scheduled. There will be no Guest Observer funding for non-exoplanet proposals that are granted time on the telescope.

The following are the instruments offered at WIYN in 2024A (see current status and more
information on the WIYN status page at http://www.wiyn.org/Observe/wiynstatus.html):

SparsePak contains 82 fibers that are 5 arcsec on the sky and arranged in a dense core surrounded by a sparse array. HexPak and GradPak are unique variable pitch IFUs, designed to sample the brightest parts of galaxies with small fibers (0.94 arcsec) and the fainter parts with larger fibers (5.6 arcsec). All IFUs feed the Bench Spectrograph. SparsePak is a facility instrument, but HexPak and GradPak are P.I. instruments. Prospective proposers should contact the P.I. (Matthew Bershady) at mab@astro.wisc.edu. See the WIYN status page (https://www.wiyn.org/Observe/wiynstatus.html) for details.

  • The fiber-fed Bench Spectrograph (https://www.wiyn.org/Instruments/wiynbench.html is configurable from low (R~800) to high (R~25,000) spectral resolution covering windows over the full optical band, 350 - 1000 nm.
  • ODI (https://www.wiyn.org/ODI/index.html) provides high spatial resolution imaging over a wide field that takes full advantage of WIYN's excellent delivered image quality. ODI is an optical imager with 0.11 arcsec pixels, recently upgraded to a 40 x 48 arcmin field of view. The current full field of view filter set includes SDSS u', g', r', i', z', and four narrow-band filters (NB422, NB695, NB746 and H-alpha).  The smaller Mosaic filters are no longer available with ODI due to the full complement of permanently mounted, large ODI filters. 
  • The WIYN High Resolution Infrared Camera (WHIRC: https://noirlab.edu/science/programs/kpno/instruments/whirc) is a near infrared imager with a 3.3 arcmin field of view and 0.1 arcsec pixels. Filters available for use include J, H, Ks, and 10 narrow bands. 
  • The NASA Exoplanet Star (and) Speckle Imager, or NESSI (https://www.wiyn.org/Instruments/wiynnessi.html) utilizes two electron multiplying CCD cameras to capture speckle images in two colors simultaneously. The images obtained reach the diffraction limit of the telescope and enable searches for and differential astrometry on binaries with delta magnitudes of up to 5 and separations between 0.05 and 1.3 arcsec. NESSI has remote controlled filter wheels in each beam, split by the dichroic at 685 nm. The EMCCDs can operate with high sensitivity and low noise even at very fast readout rates (up to 30 MHz), providing high time resolution.  NESSI also introduces a new "wide-field" mode that enables the collection of images with fields of >50 arcseconds. Each 6-slot filter wheel includes two narrow-band speckle filters, two standard SDSS filters, and two empty slots. An updated, user-friendly software interface is included as well. Final reduced reconstructed images will be provided to the PI after the run for exoplanet speckle projects. See Howell et al., 2011, AJ, 142, 19H, Scott et al., SPIE presentation June 2016.

MINERVA-Australis Proposals

As part of the NN-EXPLORE program, NASA's partnership with the MINERVA-Australis consortium (https://minerva-australis.org/) will make 300 hours of observing time on the facility available to the US community.  This time will be allocated to exoplanet science research, as described before.

MINERVA-Australis is a dedicated exoplanet observatory operated by the University of Southern Queensland (USQ) in Queensland, Australia. The facility is located at USQ's Mt. Kent Observatory and saw first light in quarter two 2018; commissioning of the facility was completed in mid-2019.  MINERVA-Australis currently consists of 4 (0.7m) PlaneWave CDK700 telescopes; these telescopes have two ports, allowing each to be used for either spectroscopic or photometric observations.

A summary of the facility and its capabilities can be found in the commissioning paper by
Addison et al. 2019 (https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/2019PASP..131k5003A and at
https://nexsci.caltech.edu/missions/Minerva/).  The photometric channel is capable of milli-magnitude precision and currently, the light from four telescopes can be combined onto one R=75,000 echelle spectrograph for radial velocity precisions of 1 - 10 m/s depending on the target brightness.

Proposals of all sizes are encouraged, from single night to large programs in support of observations of single targets or large surveys. No funding will be available to observers under this portion of the program.  

Restrictions of the Call for MINERVA-Australis

As with the other elements in the NN-EXPLORE call, the 300 hours available for 2024A on MINERVA-Australis are intended for exoplanet research. Observing time will be allocated in hours and must include all science and calibration observations necessary to accomplish the science.  More information can be obtained by contacting David Ciardi at NExScI (ciardi@ipac.caltech.edu) or Rob Wittenmyer at University of Southern Queensland (Rob.Wittenmyer@usq.edu.au).

As the MINERVA-Australis is a scientific consortium, there are a set of restrictions by which proposers must abide:

  • The MINERVA-Australis has listed a set of “Collaboration Targets,” which are a set of  targets that the collaboration is observing (see https://drive.google.com/file/d/1M4ee7qRmhMoldLqbngZD7qXMOQSzZvhV/view?usp=shari g__;!!PvBDto6Hs4WbVuu7!bQiLiXo3BVwkHQbR0BcXUQQTSbPCmfGjwn_M_AxEcZRAS) “Collaboration Targets” can be proposed for observation through the NASA time if the proposal principal investigator forms a collaboration with MINERVA-Australis or the proposer and the MINERVA-Australis collaboration member come to a mutual agreement regarding the proposed observations. Contact Rob Wittenmyer at University of Southern Queensland (Rob.Wittenmyer@usq.edu.au) if you are interested in observing “Collaboration Targets.”
  • Observations will be made, on behalf of the NASA observers, in queue-mode by the MINERVA-Australis team.
  • The MINERVA-Australis team will deliver the proposer’s raw data, 1D extracted spectra, and radial velocities (if desired by the proposer).
  • Data obtained for US community observers will be archived at NExScI through the ExoFOP service.  Archived data will have the option to have a maximum 12-month proprietary period.
  • Any publications arising from the utilization of NASA time on MINERVA-Australis are subject to the main MINERVA-Australis publication policy regarding the inclusion of the listed Architects and Builders [please contact Rob.Wittenmyer@usq.edu.au] and must acknowledge the NN-EXPLORE Program.
  • Acknowledgments: Please include this acknowledgment for publications resulting from NN-EXPLORE telescope time: "Data presented herein were obtained at the WIYN Observatory, or MINERVA-Australis from telescope time allocated to NN-EXPLORE through the scientific partnership of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the National Science Foundation, and the NOIRLab."


3.6 CHARA 45 Nights Available in 2024A

The NOIRLab allocation of observing time on CHARA is 45 nights for 2024A.  The current instruments available are CLASSIC, CLIMB, PAVO, and MIRC-X/MYSTIC. 

VEGA has been decommissioned and it is expected that SPICA (its replacement) will become available in shared risk mode in 2024A. For questions about target feasibility with SPICA, please  contact Denis Mourard (SPICA PI; denis.mourard@oca.eu) or Gail Schaefer (Director of CHARA Array; gschaefer@gsu.edu).

More information on CHARA and its instruments can be found at http://www.chara.gsu.edu .

3.7 Las Cumbres Observatory

For this call no time is available on either the 1m and 2m telescopes in the LCO global network.

More information on observing with LCO can be found at   https://lco.global/astronomers

3.8 Gemini North and South

The Gemini Observatory has released a Call for Proposals for 2024A at:


The Gemini Call contains all of the information necessary to submit a Gemini proposal.  We suggest strongly that you also read the Gemini CfP if you are requesting Gemini or Subaru-exchange time to be aware of the latest news.

Proposers requesting Gemini time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT):


The Gemini Phase I Tool (PIT) will automatically add the time for the baseline partner calibrations to the total time requested for each target in the proposal.

Gemini-Subaru Exchange
Gemini and Subaru are continuing their time-exchange program. A minimum of 5 nights will be available to the Gemini community, providing that there is sufficient demand from both sides of the exchange. Please see the Gemini Call for Proposals for more Subaru-specific information. Proposers requesting Subaru time must use the Gemini Phase-I Tool (PIT).

Notes regarding Subaru facility and instrument availability in 24A:

- There may be 14-27 nights of downtime due to the inspection of the hydraulic system of the telescope and dome drive system renewal (most likely in June-July).

- There will be at maximum three or four HSC observing runs in S24A semester. Time requests are limited to 35 hours (including overheads) for queue mode and 5 nights for classical observations.

- As usual, all proposals using PI-type instruments must include relevant instruments PIs. CHARIS, FastPDI, VAMPIRES, and MEC can be used together at the same time as the modules of SCExAO. For all information on available PI type instruments, see https://subarutelescope.org/Observing/Proposals/call.html

- LGS + AO188 will be operated with TBAD with a shared-risk policy in S24A.

Please be reminded that proposals requesting PI-type instruments/devices must include the relevant PIs as Co-I of the proposal (see https://www.naoj.org/Observing/Instruments/index.html).

The following PI-type (visiting) instruments are available in S24A:

  • CHARIS with SCExAO+AO188 (including spectro-polarimetric mode)
  • Fast PDI with SCExAO+AO188 (in a shared-risk mode)
  • IRD with AO188 (NGS-AO or LGS-AO, in a shared-risk mode)
  • MEC with SCExAO+AO188 (in a shared-risk mode)
  • REACH (combination of SCExAO and IRD for single-mode fiber spectroscopy)
  • VAMPIRES with SCExAO+AO188 (cameras have been upgraded for improved sensitivity, speed and dynamic range. A new multi-band imaging mode is available.)
  • NsIR Wave Plate Unit (a visiting device for IRCS/SCExAO polarimetry mode)
  • NIR WFS (a near-infrared wavefront sensor inside the AO188 instead of the visible wavefront sensor; available in share risk mode only for limited modes with IRCS and SCExAO/CHARIS)

The laser guide star (LGS) system can be used with IRD in shared-risk mode.
CHARIS, FastPDI, VAMPIRES, and MEC can be used together at the same time as the modules of SCExAO.

- REACH can be used simultaneously with CHARIS with any dispersion modes, but the wavelength coverage of CHARIS will be from 1850nm to the longest wavelengths (please check the CHARIS website).

- Instrument switching between IRD, REACH, CHARIS, VAMPIRES, Fast PDI, and MEC in one or half observation night for one observing proposal is possible. The required time for switching is,

  • REACH <=> VAMPIRES: 0 (REACH can be used with VAMPIRES simultaneously)
  • IRD <=> REACH: ~20 minutes (if the laser frequency comb is required for both IRD and REACH, otherwise 5 minutes)
  • CHARIS, VAMPIRES, FastPDI and MEC can run simultaneously: See SCExAO webpage
  • Other combination: <5 minutes

Note that IRD <=> REACH switching with laser frequency comb for both IRD and REACH is allowed up to twice per one night per one observing proposal.

3.9 Zwicky Transient Facility and ANTARES event brokering

The NSF MSIP-funded Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) is currently issuing public transient alerts.  ZTF-II is now doing a two-night cadence all-sky survey as its public survey.  More information can be found at:

https://ztf.caltech.edu/ .

For 2024A, the NSF NOIRLab encourages submission of proposals for “target-of-opportunity” (ToO) follow-up observing triggered by ZTF alerts. Proposals should plan to use the current ToO policies and mechanisms for the facilities allocated through the NSF NOIRLab TAC. More information about current ToO policies and procedures at available open-access facilities can be found here:

Gemini Target of Opportunity observing:


CTIO Target of Opportunity observing:


SOAR Target of Opportunity observing

The NSF NOIRLab is currently filtering ZTF alerts through the ANTARES event broker system (https://antares.noirlab.edu). For 2024A, ANTARES capabilities include positional and/or catalog-based filters with associated delta-magnitude thresholds, as well as more complex filters.  Proposers interested in employing these ANTARES capabilities within their programs during 2024A are encouraged to contact Dr. Tom Matheson (tom.matheson@noirlab.edu) in advance of the proposal deadline. Support for ANTARES science verification programs will be subject to availability of resources; depending on demand during this initial call, it is possible that only a subset of programs will be chosen for use with ANTARES.

3.10 KPNO

Mayall 4-m

The Mayall 4-m telescope is currently in the midst of survey observing with the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI). No time will be available through the NSF NOIRLab TAC.

WIYN 3.5m

Approximately 40 nights devoted to NN-EXPLORE programs will be available for NSF NOIRLab observing time in 2024A.  More details on the NN-EXPLORE Program on WIYN can be found at: https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/proposals/nn-explore

Information specific to proposing for time using the precision radial-velocity spectrograph NEID can be found at:  https://www.wiyn.org/Instruments/wiynneid_call.html 

Open-access proposals, other than NNEXPLORE, can be submitted to WIYN, but these would only be scheduled if NNEXPLORE programs could not be scheduled for all of the NOIRLab WIYN time; in particular, proposals using only Hydra or ODI might have the best chance to be fit into time slots that could not fit into the NNEXPLORE schedule.

WIYN 0.9m

No new proposals are solicited in 2024A for the 0.9m with HDI.  We are working on re-opening as soon as possible and will issue a call for proposals at that time.

3.11 CTIO

Blanco 4m

Nights available in 2024A for new regular programs is approximately 100.

Instruments available: In 2024A, CTIO will be offering the Dark Energy Camera (DECam) and the wide Field IR imager NEWFIRM.   NEWFIRM was re-commissioned on the CTIO 4-m Blanco telescope during the 2023A semester and will be performing Science Verification (SV) observations during the 2023B semester.  Based on these results, NEWFIRM will be offered for regular science observations beginning in 2024A.  PIs interested in proposing to use NEWFIRM should contact Sean Points (sean.points@noirlab.edu) or visit the NEWFIRM webpages at:


Remote Observing: See the Information on equipment and software requirements and how to carry out remote observations at Blanco at: 


Note that we are waiving the requirement that all observers must have had previous observing experience at the telescope in order to carry out remote observations. However, we strongly encourage the involvement of experienced observers within your team in the planning and execution of your observations.


SOAR intends to aluminize its primary mirror during March-April (approximately). The number of nights available should be approximately 25. Readiness for coating will be reviewed in early December, and again prior to starting work.

The SOAR website is located at:


Instruments: All instruments that were available in the previous two semesters, excluding the SOAR Optical Imager (SOI), are currently available.  SOI will no longer be offered, starting in semester 2024A. Nearly all SOI programs can be carried out efficiently, often more efficiently, with the Goodman spectrograph in imaging mode. See the Facilities Table in Sections 4.1 and 4.2 below for a list with links.

SOAR AEON update -

TripleSpec4.1 can be requested in its most-used observing mode, which is a basic ABBA dither pattern suitable for point sources. The observing block will also include a nearby telluric standard and an optional arc. The instrument continues to be available in classical mode for observers who require more complex observations.

We continue to offer the Goodman spectrograph with both red and blue cameras, in several spectroscopic and imaging configurations.

For details, please see: https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/observing-ctio/observing-soar/aeon

SOAR Target of Opportunity Update -

Detection of gravitational wave events is currently expected to resume in semester 2023A (O4). In contrast to the policy for the O3 campaign that ended in March 2020, we will treat approved GWE follow-up programs as standard ToO programs, governed by the current policy (https://noirlab.edu/science/observing-noirlab/observing-ctio/observing-soar/proposing-soar/targets-opportunity-overview). This policy has been revised since 2020, and should allow well-designed GWE follow-up programs to achieve their goals.

As previously, if there are competing requests for follow-up of the same event on the same night, the first proposal to trigger will have priority but must promptly share the raw data with any other approved proposal team that requests it.

ToO programs with suitable configurations can be observed as part of the AEON queue on scheduled queue nights instead of interrupting those nights; PIs of approved proposals will be contacted.

SMARTS (1.5m with CHIRON and 0.9m with CFCCD)

At the time of this call, NOIRLab is not able to offer time on the SMARTS telescopes for 2024A.  If this changes in the future, a dedicated call will be issued.  For questions concerning the future availability of SMARTS time through NOIRLab, please contact Steve Heathcote steve.heathcote@NOIRLab.edu. 

3.12 NOIRLab and NASA Space Observatories Observing Time

NSF's NOIRLab collaborates with NASA Space Observatories – the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), Chandra, and Fermi – to provide investigators with complementary ground-based observations in support of their programs. Investigators can obtain time on facilities available through NOIRLab through successful proposals for JWST, Fermi, HST, and Chandra programs. This collaboration allows proposers to avoid the double jeopardy inherent in having to pass through two separate TAC processes, and provides access to facilities essential to obtaining complementary ground-based O/IR data without regard to institutional affiliation. Time awarded through this process can be scheduled over two semesters to coincide with annual proposal cycles of space observatories. Classical observing time awarded and scheduled through this process will not be automatically extended or augmented to account for losses due to bad weather.

Currently this opportunity is subject to a limit of 5% of the available time on any given NOIRLab telescope, averaged over one year, for all proposals under this collaboration. The available time eligible for this opportunity currently includes all time available for standard (non-survey) proposals on the 4m Blanco telescope, the US share of time on the 4m SOAR telescope, and the US share of time for regular proposals on the twin 8m Gemini telescopes. Per NOIRLab time allocation policy, applications from astronomers and students who work at non-US institutions must indicate why the project cannot be done using other facilities available to the investigators and why US national facilities are needed.

Investigators are responsible for providing sufficient details about their ground-based observations as part of the proposal to the relevant space observatory. This information will be used by reviewers to judge the scientific merit and necessity of the ground-based observations to the overall science program, and by NOIRLab to review technical and scheduling feasibility. Please consult the appropriate space telescope call for proposals for instructions on where to enter this information.

Note for Gemini Time: Proposals that request observations with the Gemini telescopes must submit a separate Gemini proposal to NOIRLab using the Gemini PIT, to enable the observations to be entered into the Gemini queue system.  

4. General Information about Facilities Available through NOIRLab

4.1 Facilities List

Facility Telescope

Approximate nights available for new standard 2024A programs

Additional Information

8m Gemini North

8m Gemini South

8m Subaru (through time exchange)




CTIO 4m Blanco 100 https://noirlab.edu/science/programs/ctio
SOAR 4.2m SOAR 25 https://noirlab.edu/science/programs/ctio/telescopes/soar-telescope/about



NN-EXPLORE 0  hrs  



3.5m WIYN





6 x 1m aperture


45 http://www.chara.gsu.edu/public/instrumentation/

Keck 1

Keck 2





MINERVA-Australis  0.7m x 5  300 hrs https://www.usq.edu.au/hes/school-of-mathematics-physics-and-computing/mt-kent-observatory

Magellan (Clay + Baade)

6.5m  5 (total)  https://obs.carnegiescience.edu/astronomers


4.2 Telescope and Instrument Lists (with Instrument Proposal Code and Web-link)


GMOS-N: Gemini Optical Imager, Multi-Object Spectrograph and IFU


Note that the R600 grating is not available in 2023A.
The new B480 grating is available.

GNIRS: Gemini Near Infra-Red Spectrograph 


As before, the short red camera is NOT available. YJHK imaging is available via the acquisition keyhole. A new low-resolution IFUs is being commissioned and will be offered for Fast Turnaround proposals only in semester 2024A.

GNIRS + Altair: Gemini Near Infra-Red Spectrograph with AO system (Altair).  



NIFS: Near-IR IFU Spectrograph


Available with or without AO capability. This instrument shares a port with NIRI and MAROON-X, hence it will only be available during specific blocks. NIFS is expected to be scheduled for two or three approximately one-month-long blocks during the semester. If the GNIRS IFUs are successfully commissioned in 2022, semester 2023B may be the last B semester where NIFS is offered.
NIFS + Altair: Near-IR IFU Spectrograph with AO system (Altair).  
NIRI + Altair: Near-IR Imager with AO system (Altair).  
'Alopeke: Speckle Camera (visiting instrument)
A dual-channel fast-readout visual-wavelength camera giving simultaneous diffraction-limited images in two filters over a 2.8 arcsec field of view; as well as a wide-field mode which provides simultaneous two-color imaging in standard SDSS filters over a 60" field of view. The scheduling and length of the Alopeke visiting block(s) will be subject to community demand.  Targets of Opportunity (Rapid or Standard) are accepted for Alopeke, but will only be executed during the instrument blocks.
MAROON-X: Precision Radial-Velocity High-Reolution Spectrograph (visiting instrument)
A high-resolution (R~80,000), optical (500 - 900nm) radial velocity (RV) spectrometer,  is open to the community for high precision RV studies as well as general purpose high-resolution spectroscopy.  Please use the Maroon-X Exposure Time Calculator to evaluate the instrument performance. This instrument shares a port with NIFS and NIRI, hence it will only be available during specific blocks. MAROON-X is expected to be scheduled for two or three approximately one-month-long blocks during the semester.


FLAMINGOS-2: Near-Infrared Wide Field Imager and Spectrometer (imaging, longslit, and MOS modes)
Offered in imaging, long-slit and MOS modes throughout the semester. The multi-object spectroscopy (MOS) mode allows simultaneous observation of up to 150 targets per mask over an area of 6'x2'.
GMOS-S: Gemini Optical Imager, Multi-Object Spectrograph and IFU
GMOS-S is expected to be available with a replaced detector from June 2023 onwards, but prospective PIs should check the instrument web pages for updates (/news/instrument-announcements/gmos) on availability.
The noise problem on CCD-2 persists, as of August 2022; users are advised to dither or to place targets or spectral features on other parts of the detector. GMOS South may be removed for extensive engineering in the April to May 2023 period, to address this issue. In that case the instrument will not be available, and there will be reduced access to GMOS targets in the RA range of 8 to 12. Prospective users should check the instrument page for updates. The R600 grating is not available, however the new B480 grating is available, in 23A.
GSAOI/GeMS: Gemini Adaptive Optics Imager with Multi-Conjugate AO System
With the GeMS Adaptive Optics system: due to guide star limitations, investigators must check the availability of Guide Star constellations using the Observing Tool before submitting a proposal.  Observations in IQ85 are possible for programs that can use delivered images with full-width half-maximum of ~0.2 arcseconds as opposed to the ≤ 0.1 arcseconds delivered in IQ70 or IQ20 conditions. Observations under non-photometric conditions with 0.1 mag uniform extinction are also possible under very good IQ conditions.  The expectation is to have two or three laser runs of 7 nights each during the semester, the actual schedule will be based on the demand from the community.
Zorro: Speckle Camera (visiting Instrument)
A dual-channel fast-readout visual-wavelength camera giving simultaneous diffraction-limited images in two filters over a 2.8 arcsec field of view; as well as a wide-field mode which provides simultaneous two-color imaging in standard SDSS filters over a 60" field of view. The scheduling and length of the Zorro visiting block(s) will be subject to community demand.  Targets of Opportunity (Rapid or Standard) are accepted for Zorro, but will only be executed during the instrument blocks.
IGRINS: High-Resolution Near-IR Cross-Dispersed Echelle Spectrometer (visiting instrument)
A high-resolution (R~45000), single-setting, near IR (1.45 - 2.5 microns) echelle spectrometer, will be available throughout the semester except for two weeks before and during the 7-night GeMS/GSAOI runs. See the IGRINS at Gemini page for important information about writing IGRINS proposals.

Subaru (Gemini Exchange time)

AO 188 (Subaru 188-element Adaptive Optics system) is available in Natural Guide Star mode and Laser Guide Star mode.
FOCAS: Faint Object Camera and Spectrograph; is available.
HDS: High Dispersion Spectrograph (optical) is available.
HSC: will have a maximum of four observing runs between March and June. Some filters require permission for use, prospective users should check the HSC web page. Important notice for HSC filters: all applicants must explicitly describe the filters they intend to use, in their proposal. The desired set as well as the minimum acceptable set should be clearly specified.
MOIRCS (Multi-Object Infrared Camera and Spectrograph): is back online, possibly in shared-risk mode.
IRCS: IR Camera and Spectrograph: all polarimetry mode of IRCS is open as a shared-risk mode.
IRCS+AO188: IRCS + Natural Guide Star AO.  The polarimetry mode is a shared-risk mode.

Visiting Instruments on Subaru offered in 202 (limited to one or two runs).  Proposals to use visiting instruments must include the instrument PIs as Co-investigators.

CHARIS : Coronagraphic High Angular Resolution Imaging Spectrograph - provides high contrast images of exoplanets, disks, brown dwarfs with SCExAO+AO188.  https://scholar.princeton.edu/charis

Fast PDI : (in shared-risk mode): polarization differential imaging (PDI) with a high speed (>kHz) near-IR (950 - 1860 nm) low-noise camera (C-RED One), optimized for high contrast imaging of circumstellar disks with SCExAO+AO188. 

IRD - Infrared Doppler: (in shared-risk mode): infrared high-dispersion, high resolution (up to 70,000) fiber-fed spectrometer.  IRD SSP is started in 2019A – any IRD proposal must clarify how its scientific aim is different from SSP. The observing mode REACH (SCExAO+IRD), is available.

MEC (in shared-risk mode): the MKID Exoplanet Camera is a near-IR (800-1400nm) photon-counting low-resolution (R~5) integral field spectrograph optimized for high contrast imaging with SCExAO+AO188.

VAMPIRES : The Visible Aperture Masking Polarimetric Imager for Resolved Exoplanetary Strucutres is a visible light instrument on the SCExAO system.   https://www.naoj.org/Projects/SCEXAO/scexaoWEB/030openuse.web/040vampires.web/indexm.html    

NsIR Wave Plate Unit:  for IRCS/SCExAO polarimetry mode. 

Keck I        





Keck II         







Magellan I (Baade)


FIRE: http://web.mit.edu/~rsimcoe/www/FIRE/



Magellan II (Clay)




CTIO 4m Blanco

DECam: Wide-Field Optical Imager


Goodman: Goodman Spectrograph
SOI: SOAR Optical Imager
TripleSpec4.1 (ex-ARCOIRIS): Cross-dispersed, single-object, longslit, IR imaging spectrograph
Spartan: Spartan IR Imager
SAM: SOAR Adaptive Module
SIFS: SOAR Integral-Unit Spectrograph

WIYN 3.5m

NEID: NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler spectroscopy, precision RV spectrograph
ODI: One Degree Imager (40' x 48' focal plane)
HYDRB: Hydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Blue camera
HYDRR: Hydra + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Red camera
SPSPKB: SparsePak Fiber Array + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Blue camera
SPSPKR: SparsePak Fiber Array + Bench Spectrograph + STA1 CCD, Red camera
WHIRC: WIYN High Resolution IR Camera
NESSI: NASA Exoplanet Star (and) Speckle Imager


CLASSIC: IR (H or K) Imaging
CLIMB: IR (H or K) Imaging
MIRC-X/MYSTIC: Low-resolution H-band Spectroscopy
PAVO: Low-resolution Optical Spectroscopy

WIYN 0.9m

HDI: Half-Degree Imager

5. How to Acknowledge Use of NSF's NOIRLab Facilities

There are a variety of credit lines which are appropriate for citing the use of data from one or more of the NOIRLab facilities. Please acknowledge the proper observatories by using the appropriate credit line as described in the following link:


Updated on September 7, 2023, 5:00 am